Early work by Dewey and collaborators has shown the distribution of rhodopsin in the frog retina. We have repeated these experiments on cow and mouse eyes using antibodies specific to rhodopsin alone. Bovine rhodopsin in emulphogene was purified on an hydroxyapatite column. The purity of this reagent was established by spectrophotometric criteria, by sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) gel electrophoresis, and by isoelectric focusing. This rhodopsin was used as an immunoadsorbent to isolate specific antibodies from the antisera of rabbits immunized with bovine rod outer segments solubilized in 2% digitonin. The antibody so prepared was shown by immunoelectrophoresis to be in the IgG class and did not cross-react with lipid extracts of bovine rod outer segments. Papain-digested univalent antibodies (Fab) coupled with peroxidase were used to label rhodopsin in formaldehyde-fixed bovine and murine retinas. In addition to the disk membranes, the plasma membrane of the outer segment, the connecting cilium, and part of the rod inner segment membrane were labeled. We observed staining on both sides of the rod outer segment plasma membrane and the disk membrane. Discrepancies were observed between results of immunolabeling experiments and observations of membrane particles seen in freeze-cleaved specimens. Our experiments indicate that the distribution of membrane particles in freeze cleaving experiments reflects the distribution of membrane proteins. Immunolabeling, on the other hand, can introduce several different types of artifact, unless controlled with extreme care.

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